In a quiet corner of the house, in a dimly lit south-facing room, lays a shadow of a man I once knew. He can’t speak, smile, or motion and he doesn’t really have a lot of range of eye movement from within his partially opened eyes. But…but! I know he hears me.
As I quietly made my way into his room yesterday, it was easy to overlook the IV and the morphine drip, the shelves of medical supplies and the monster hospital bed. All I saw was a frail man propped up in bed with his face naturally angled at the ceiling. I spoke with him and carried on a one sided conversation quite well, but inside I was breaking. My heart was breaking and my spirit ached for this man who always had something to say, a kind word, a strong hug and his gentle, loving eyes that pierced your soul every time.
It’s hard to stay out the room, I am drawn to it. It is so peaceful in there. Quiet, serene, calming. I can’t really describe it and do it justice … like a huge warm blanket that encompasses you completely. The kind of feeling that makes you happy inside, almost glowing. I sat in there yesterday. I don’t know how long it was, I just sat there with him staring into the walls listening to him sleep, his hand enclosed in mine. I had told him he was holding my hand whether he liked it or not. I sat in silence, listening to the oxygen tank buzz, the 1940’s music softly playing from the TV and thinking about all of his stories and words I had heard over the past eight years. I’d be fine and then tears would come to my eyes. But not the tears you would expect, I wasn’t sad, I was at peace. But then the sad tears would come. Why does a man so amazingly brave, generous, strong and so full of chivalry and charisma have to be reduced to this state? It’s not fair. Life isn’t fair and dying isn’t fair either.
We expect his days are very few now. I am deeply saddened, but know he won’t be in any more pain. I worry about my mother-in-law. She is amazing. She works so hard and takes such amazing care of her father, my admiration for her runs so deeply.
What a bitter-sweet time. My little brother-in-law, whom I adore, is to be married on the morning of Thursday to a wonderful young girl that I am getting to know, and just doors down from where I sit is a legend of a man, living out his last few hours. My words will never do my thoughts justice.
I believe they have.
I concur. It’s tough to experience all the aspects of life at the same time. I found out I was pregnant with Knute just after my mom lost her mother and I was hesitant at how to act. But, Mom summed it up best, “She would be happy for you and I know she wants us to stop mourning and live our lives with joy.” I hope the wedding is not sad for the loss of B’s grandfather.
Oh my goodness. How hard. My prayers are with your family.
Life and Death really are a package deal but are yet so difficult to accept the two of them together.
Even though you saw him as being reduced to a sad state he was still fighting til the end. And that there is brave and very admirable. He held on til the very end.
Death, just like life is a prize and he deserved it. Like you said, he’ll be with his wife and with his parents – and that’s something I’d welcome death for! Pain free and happy… Depressing as it may sound to you now but our turn will roll around soon enough and it shouldn’t be sad.
I love you and I’m glad you’re where you are right now in the big picture – you can offer support to Bryan and his family with the experiences you’ve had yourself in the last year AND I’m glad you’re down there with them. It really was good timing.
Siobhan, your humilty and honor speak words about you.
My Dad knew he was going to “pass on” before it happened. I so wanted him to come home from the hospital (my children weren’t allowed to visit) to see his only grandchildren one more time. He said “I see them.” At the time, I didn’t understand, but when he left us – it was like the lightbulb went off and then I understood.
very special words. you should be proud.
Your words are very powerful. You have allowed us to get to know a man we never had the pleasure of meeting and we will celebrate his life through your writing.
Sounds awful from the description but I am pleased you got to get there in time to say your farewells.